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I have already tried to dissuade readers from making New Year’s resolutions, especially to lose weight. You’ll just end up fit in the middle of March with months to go before you can show off that figure on the beach.

The Lenten season, which comes early this year, is a much better time to begin improving yourself. In the meantime, I’m here to discuss the number one reason that hard-to-resist treats are so appealing; they are forbidden.

Five days a week, my friend, Theresa, sends her children over to our house to eat breakfast and hang out before school. Glory spends the next hour following Theresa’s daughter, Kristen, around.

To be more accurate, Glory spends the next hour following Kristen’s chocolate-flavored Pop Tarts around. She watches them from the moment I place them in the toaster until Kristen dumps the leftover crust into the kitchen trashcan.

Then, Glory waits for the moment I turn away to plunge her furry head into the kitchen trashcan and retrieve those delicious Pop Tart crumbs.

She doesn’t stalk Kristen’s little brothers, David and Matthew, while they chomp on their bowls of Lucky Charms. Glory is only interested in stealing the one breakfast food flavored with that forbidden doggie delight, chocolate.

I’ve been doing my best to make sure Kristen deposits the leftover crusts in the sink. So far, Glory has not tried to get them out; she just sits on the floor staring at the sink until I run the garbage disposal.

I compare Glory’s desire for chocolate to that of someone fighting an addiction. She craves the very thing that is supposed to be bad for her.

A chocolate lover myself, I have tried to have patience with my pooch instead of losing my temper as I clean up soggy garbage and wet coffee grinds. While spending Christmas at my parents’ home, I sunk to Glory’s level with a lack of self-control that was as shameful as my doggie’s Pop Tart shenanigans.

Like many of you, I lose my willpower the moment I enter my mother’s kitchen. Christmas is my weakest time of year because Mama makes all sorts of treats that I don’t take the time to cook for my own family, such as homemade fruitcake and pecan pie.

What tempted me most on our recent stay were the chocolate-covered peanut butter balls that are my brother, Jack’s, all-time favorite. I was well aware when we arrived that they are Jack’s favorite and should not be gobbled down by his little sister.

Then, I proceeded to eat them all over the course of three days. I sneaked a few at breakfast, another one after lunch and a couple more before bedtime, even though I had already brushed my teeth, telling myself I was finished nibbling for the day.

My conscience kept telling me to stop and save some for Jack, who was arriving on Christmas Day. But I continued to nibble and ate the last one on Christmas Eve.

The next afternoon, when Jack arrived with his family, he started poking around the kitchen, looking for his chocolate balls. “I ate them,” I confessed right away.

Knowing how much I like to joke around, my big brother didn’t believe me. “No, really, where are they?” he asked, opening one container after another. For a couple of seconds, he sounded like the skinny little boy I remembered growing up with rather than the muscled former Marine he is today.

When Jack returned a couple of days later, our mother had already made a fresh batch of his favorite treats. As I looked at them, sitting there all shiny with a fresh coat of chocolate, I knew exactly how Glory must feel when she smells those Pop Tarts toasting every morning.

I popped one in my mouth, took two others and decided to call it breakfast.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 17 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.


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